News Round-Up

Apr 12: Putin will be held ‘to account’ if chemical weapons used; Starmer accuses Sunak of hypocrisy; Retail sales plummet; First look at new Maserati

  • Here are the headlines on Tuesday, April 12

Time 6:49 am, April 12, 2022

Liz Truss to hold Vladimir Putin’s ‘regime to account’ if chemical weapons used

The foreign secretary has vowed to hold Vladimir Putin ‘and his regime to account’ if it is proven Russian forces used chemical agents in an attack on Mariupol.

Liz Truss tweeted: ‘Reports that Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on the people of Mariupol. We are working urgently with partners to verify details.

‘Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account.’

Tory ex-minister branded ‘disgraceful’ for querying Imran Ahmad Khan conviction

A former Conservative justice minister has been branded ‘completely inappropriate’ for questioning the jury conviction of his fellow MP Imran Ahmad Khan.

Crispin Blunt said Khan was the victim of a ‘dreadful miscarriage of justice’ after the Wakefield MP was found guilty on Monday of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. Khan was thrown out of the Tory Party following the verdict.

Labour has condemned Mr Blunt’s defence of Khan and members of a cross-party LGBT group that the Reigate MP chairs have quit in protest, with one urging him to resign from his role.

Commons Speaker: MPs still traumatised and fearful after Amess murder

MPs and political staff remain ‘traumatised’ by the murder of Sir David Amess, and continue to struggle amid fears for their security, commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said.

Sir Lindsay said Sir David’s death last October underlined how much the world had changed in recent years, following the 2016 murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, and the 2017 terror attack on Parliament.

And he said some MPs remain worried about their safety, after Sir David was stabbed more than 20 times by twisted London-born extremist Ali Harbi Ali at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Starmer accuses Sunak of ‘rank hypocrisy’ for using ‘schemes’ to avoid tax

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has accused chancellor Rishi Sunak of ‘rank hypocrisy’ for using ‘schemes’ to reduce his tax burden as the cost-of-living crisis worsens.

Sunak’s political career is at risk of being derailed by the row over his wife’s non-domiciled status and his own former holding of a US green card.

During a campaign visit to Sunderland, Sir Keir indicated he was uncomfortable with the system of overseas tax status but also did not think politicians should have to publish their own tax returns.

Mariupol mayor says siege has killed more than 10,000 civilians

The mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol said that more than 10,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege of his city, and that the death toll could surpass 20,000.

Speaking by phone to The Associated Press, mayor Vadym Boychenko also said Russian forces brought mobile cremation equipment to the city to dispose of the bodies, and he accused Russian forces of refusing to allow humanitarian convoys into the city in an attempt to conceal the carnage.

The mayor’s comments emerged as Russia claimed that it destroyed several Ukrainian air-defence systems in what appeared to be a renewed push to gain air superiority and take out weapons Kyiv has described as crucial ahead of an expected broad new offensive in the east.

Retail sales wane in March as consumer confidence sinks – report

Retail sales growth slowed significantly last month as consumer confidence ‘continued to sink’, according to new research.

The latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor revealed that total sales increased by 3.1 per cent in March, slipping back from a 6.7 per cent rise in February. Experts added that the growth in total sales in March was buoyed by price rises across the sector.

It came as separate research from Barclaycard showed that rising fuel prices and household bills were starting to affect customer spending patterns.

Maserati’s upcoming GranTurismo Folgore EV showcased in prototype form

Maserati’s new electric vehicle – the GranTurismo Folgore – has been showcased undergoing testing on the streets of Rome in prototype form.

The GranTurismo Folgore – which is due to arrive in production form next year – was used for the Rome E-Prix to take Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares to the city’s Formula E circuit.

Arriving as Maserati’s first fully electric vehicle, the GranTurismo Folgore will be made at the firm’s Mirafiori production facility, which is where its predecessor was made. It’s expected that we’ll get a clearer look at the upcoming GranTurismo Folgore later this year.

Downing Street condemns ‘guerrilla tactics’ of oil protesters

Downing Street has condemned the ‘guerrilla tactics’ used by environmental protesters targeting oil supplies.

Activists from Just Stop Oil have been hampering access to oil terminals for days, demanding that the government stops new fossil fuel projects. Essex Police has arrested more than 350 protesters since the disruption started on April 1 but the campaign group said some of its activists were still locked on to pipework at a terminal in Grays on Monday.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: ‘We recognise the strength of feeling and the right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but we won’t tolerate guerrilla tactics that obstruct people going about their day-to-day business.’

Downing Street rejects NHS leaders’ plea for more Covid-19 curbs

Downing Street has rejected a call by NHS leaders to reintroduce greater mask-wearing and a push to encourage mixing outdoors.

The NHS Confederation urged the Government to reconsider its ‘living with Covid’ plan as it said that ministers risk ‘abandoning’ the NHS if they do not take action. The membership body, which represents healthcare organisations, warned that very high rates of Covid-19 infections are having a ‘major impact’ on the health service, which is facing pressures as they would in a ‘bad winter’ well into spring.

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A No 10 spokeswoman said: ‘There is no change to our guidance and our living with Covid plan still stands.’

Weather outlook

A dull and wet day for most of the UK today, reports BBC Weather, as a band of rain pushes northwards across the country – heavy and thundery in places.

Tonight, rain will continue to move northwards into northern Scotland. Further south it’ll be dry with variable cloud cover.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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